The first bank that was designed for mobile use launched to the public this week, allowing users to pay what they want in fees.
GoBank, launched by publicly traded Green Dot Corp., has no overdraft or penalty fees. The company says that it "works for tips," allowing users to pay up to $9 a month as a membership fee. But members can use the same account features even if they don't pay a fee.
Customers get a free debit card, or they can create a custom debit card with a photo of their choice for $9. The company gets most of its money through debit card swipe fees from merchants. There's a bill-pay feature and the accounts are FDIC-insured.
NerdWallet's senior analyst John Gower had positive reviews, saying, "GoBank's concept and ease-of-use resonates well with younger, tech-savvy consumers but isn't beyond the grasp of newer mobile users either. The app, website, and various features are quite easy to navigate and understand, which is something many banks still struggle with."
Gower said offering customers the chance to pay what they feel is fair "is a unique and refreshing strategy among banks."
Starting next week, the company will offer free custom debit cards as part of a promotion with store partners, like Rite Aid and Barnes & Noble College bookstores.
Members can use fee-free ATMs from more than 42,000 locations around the country and add cash at over 3,900 ATMs.
The number of ATM locations is a very competitive option for people who don't want to deposit checks to their GoBank account by snapping a photo on their smart phones, or enroll in GoBank's direct deposit. (Bank of America, for example, has 5,400 retail banking offices and approximately 16,300 ATMs. Chase says it has 19,500 ATMs and 5,500 branches.)
GoBank is available in the iTunes App store. Android phone users can download the app for free via Google Play and MetroPCS will distribute the mobile application across its compatible Android device portfolio.
One of the coolest features of GoBank is that users can view their balance on the login screen, which the company says is the primary reason why a person logs into their bank account.
GoBank also allows users to send money with no charge through text or email. If you want to send money to someone not using GoBank, they can move the money with PayPal.
GoBank says its product offers a "high tech/low price proposition."
"I think we're going to see more innovation with regard to financial products and services, both mobile and online, and whatever the next big thing is," said Michael Schreiber, editor-in-chief of Credit.com. "As issuers innovate in this space, data security will be of paramount importance."